wants to drive a Mercedes-Benz, especially an SUV, and
even more so when this SUV is made a whole lot better
than its seven-year-old predecessor. The ML350 replaces
the old ML320, which had been plagued with manufacturing
defects. It seems that they got things in order over
in Vance, Alabama, where these luxury SUVs are made,
and the three-point star brand wants to make sure you’re
going to love the new edition.
liked it a lot, feeling that the revamped model is a
whole lot more car than SUV. In fact, everything has
been reworked from the sleeker exterior to the more
luxurious interior. There is a new engine, new transmission
and even a new transmission gear shift on the column
coupled with steering wheel shift buttons. Inside there
is more space and a few compartments here and there
to stow away all sorts of things, but it will only seat
five, leaving the increased cargo area for that purpose.
Driving the car is fine, with a little more roll than
we’d want, but for most of your driving it should
not be a problem. It comes with permanent four-wheel
drive and 17” wheels, so for the most part, it
is sure-footed. For your comfort, there are separate
automatic climate zones and A/C controls in the front
and rear and even an electrostatic dust filter. As well,
you may plug in your MP3 iPod devices thanks to an auxiliary
input in the glove box. Most everything that you’d
expect in this level of automobile is in it, except
for front seat heating, which is a $690 option. In fact,
a base model starts at $40,000, but our tester finished
close to $49,000. Then, there is the ML500 with the
V8 engine. That model we liked even more especially
with the Airmatic suspension that enables you to raise
the car for more ground clearance. But quit dreaming.
That King of the Hill is $10,000 more.
Top 10 SUVs
2012 Mercedes-Benz ML550
Watch a video of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML550
Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile new vehicle warranty, 24-hour
Roadside Assistance Program.